Mayor seeks new leader for prisoner re-entry office

The mayor’s reentry office for ex-offenders could soon have its third leader in three years.

The administration posted a job opening last month for a new executive director for the office known as RISE (Re-Integration Services for Ex-Offenders), and hopes to fill the position by September.

About 40 people applied, but just 10 or so are still in the running — including the office’s interim head, Carolyn Harper, according to Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Everett Gillison.

Harper has been at the helm since the fall of 2008, when Nutter’s initial pick to lead the office, Ron Cuie, was forced out after he overspent his budget.

In some ways, it’s been a rocky start for the RISE office, which is central to the mayor’s goal of placing more former inmates in jobs.

Still, “if you think about it, we’ve done an awful lot in 21/2 years,” Gillison said, noting the de-emphasis on the city as the primary provider of jobs now, with nonprofits and for-profit groups assuming that role.

Despite the office’s leadership turmoil, he remains optimistic. “I’m hoping we will lead the country in our approach to dealing with ex-offenders,” he said.

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